Yesterday, I posted in my Instagram stories about an activity I did with Caleb after school one day. He had received this big cardboard rocket ship for Christmas, and it was meant to be painted. I had been putting it off because I knew that I needed to make this an outdoor activity and that it would certainly require some cleanup. And while I know my kid is excessively messy and loves to smear stuff all over himself, I'm still a little shocked at the reactions that people sent me when it came to my stories. "OMG. I'm dying for you." "Ugh, what a mess." "I don't know how you deal with that." "Ummm, that's my worst nightmare."
On Tuesday, I picked him up from school and he was in some kind of mood. I let him be for a little bit and after a few minutes of silence, I asked him if he wanted to paint his rocket ship this afternoon. He yelled, "NO!" loudly and shook his head. I let him be again, and after about two minutes, he said, really softly, "Mommy, I want paint my rocket. You paint with me?" Of course, I had suggested it, so I wasn't about to say no.
The rest of the way home, he was way more low key and mentioned painting a few more times. By the time we reached home, he was ready to go. He wanted to paint right this minute. I knew this was something I needed to do a little bit of prep for, so I kept giving him tasks he had to complete before we could go out and paint. I had him change out of his uniform and into play clothes, I gave him a snack and some water, and made him use the potty. He was clearly annoyed with me. But I knew once we were outside painting, I wasn't letting him back in until he was completely done.
While he did all of that, I prepped the paint, and pulled out his smock and some of his paintbrushes. (One small tip - keep all of this stuff together in a basket or bin so when you need it, it's all in the same place and you don't have to hunt stuff down; also, use disposable plates and cups to hold the paint so cleanup is just throwing those things out). We took everything outside and went to town on that rocket ship.
For the first few minutes, he worked really quietly. I watched, I took a few photos, and I relished in the fact that I had managed to bait and switch him into a good mood. He was completely concentrated on what he was doing. Then he turned to me and asked me, "Mommy, can you paint with me?" How could I say no to that? So of course, I joined him. We painted in silence together, no distractions, no arguments, me not bossing him around. And he looked over at me, often, to make sure I was still "on task." I painted with him for over twenty minutes, and guys, let me tell you, I will cherish those twenty minutes of doing something with my son for a very long time.
After twenty minutes, I sat back down, because, well, pregnancy. I let him keep doing his thing. I watched and I talked to him and asked him questions. And then all of a sudden, he was smearing paint all over his smock. Then in his hair, and all over his face. But I didn't tell him to stop.
You see, kids don't have this same sense of order that we do. They also explore in lots of different ways. Caleb likes to feel things. He has, on numerous occasions, smeared himself with paint, yogurt, hummus, and a few other food items. I know that my kid is prone to doing this. So I'm proactive about it. Instead of flipping out because ohmygodhesmakingamess, I make sure I sit him in his high chair, or we take the paint outside. He doesn't feel like he's being stifled, and I'm not really freaking out because it's a controlled mess. Also, having been a special education teacher for many years, and working with a number of kids on the Autism spectrum who suffered from sensory issues, it always warms my heart a little to see that my son has no sensory issues.
But really, at the end of it all, we killed well over an hour of time, we spent quality time together (I consciously only took a few photos with my phone), and he had a chance to do some sensory activities, which is never a bad thing. I'd certainly consider that a win in my book.
And afterwards? There was nothing a little bath time couldn't fix. ;)
So let your kids make the messes. As a matter of fact, make the mess with them. I promise, it's not a moment you will soon forget. And at the very least, you'll get some fun pictures and amazing memories out of it.
One of the first things people always ask me when they find out I am having a girl is, "So have your pregnancies been different?" The short answer to that is a firm yes. There are so many ways in which my pregnancies have been different, but a lot of them are not huge differences. And while I'm going to attribute some of the differences to the difference in sex, I'm also going to say that age, circumstance, and experience have a lot to do with it as well.
I will say that one of the biggest differences has been that when I was pregnant with Caleb, since I was a first-time mom, everything was a big deal. I worried about everything, and my pregnancy was basically all I thought about. When you have a child outside of your belly already, you don't have the time to focus as much on your pregnancy.
Belly Shape & Size
With Caleb my belly was pretty big, and it was high and wide. I felt short of breath from very early in my pregnancy with Caleb, and he stayed high up right up until I was in labor! This pregnancy, my belly has been way lower from the beginning. It's also not as big. My stomach did bloat right away with this pregnancy, but it ended up leveling out. Since my belly doesn't protrude as much, I definitely feel more movement from her than I did with Caleb.
With Caleb, I lost weight in my first trimester, then gained weight steadily throughout the rest of my pregnancy, with a total weight gain of 24 pounds. With this pregnancy, I have gained a whopping total of... wait for it (and don't hate me, please)... FIVE pounds. I'm actually almost embarrassed to say it, because most women who have been pregnant roll their eyes at me. At first I chalked it up to the nausea I experienced in my first trimester. But then the nausea stopped and I just didn't gain weight. I think there are a few factors at play here, including the fact that I was very active, what with chasing around a toddler, and working all the way through my busy season as a photographer. I've also not been able to eat very large meals during this pregnancy, and have been congested through most of it - which has definitely given me a decreased appetite.
With Caleb, I barely had nausea. I had terrible sciatic pain in my first trimester, then it went away when I started using a pregnancy pillow. I had terrible heartburn all throughout my pregnancy with Caleb. I also had minor swelling with Caleb, and my nose definitely widened some. My feet grew, too!
Like I mentioned above, this time around, I had nausea through the whole first trimester. I have had sciatic pain on and off throughout my pregnancy, usually when I spend too much time on the floor for whatever reason. I've had some heartburn with this pregnancy, but more often when I let my stomach get too empty. I've also had no swelling, and no changes to my nose or feet (praise Jesus!) yet!
This has been where I have experienced the biggest difference. My thoughts this time aren't consumed with a new baby. My thoughts are consumed by Caleb. I had more feelings of guilt this pregnancy than anything else. At one point, when Caleb was really sick with Roseola and battling high fevers every day for over a week, I was exhausted and on the verge of tears. I called my mom and told her, "I feel so guilty because I keep forgetting I'm pregnant, and all my attention is going to Caleb." Her response made perfect sense to me. She told me, "The one in your belly is taken care of. Make sure you take your vitamins and drink water, but don't stress over that baby. The one that's not in your belly needs you right now, and he can't take care of himself. Let go of the guilt and do what you need to do." And you know what? She was 100% right. The moment I let go of the guilt and reminded myself that that baby in my belly WAS perfectly cared for, I was able to be a better mom to Caleb.
Those have been the biggest differences I have noted during this pregnancy. I have thus far been blessed with very healthy, very easy pregnancies, for which I am eternally thankful.
Did you have big differences between your pregnancies? I'd love to hear about them! Share in the comments below!
Chalk it up to not being a first-time mom or something like that, but I have been terrible at documenting my belly this pregnancy. For some reason, when I read my 33-week update this morning, I felt a little guilty about not having captured my belly more, so before we headed out today I had hubby snap a quick one on my phone.
So yes, I am 33 weeks along. You read that correctly. Thirty-three! I can hardly believe it. That means that in just about seven weeks, there will be a new human living amongst us. Pretty crazy thought. I've been feeling about as decent as it gets when it comes to pregnancy.
Some things I'm feeling:
And since the holidays are gone, Caleb's birthday has passed, and my due date is drawing near, I'm getting my butt in gear and starting to prepare for this little girl's entrance into the world. Here are some of the things I'm working on:
There are about a million things running through my head at the moment and the mental load is real. But I'm so excited to become a family of four and I can't wait to have my little princess in my arms!
Until next time!
Three years. I can't believe that three years ago today, I had yet to meet you. I would never be ready for what was about to come my way, but I was more ready to meet you, this little man of mine, than I had ever been for anything in my life. But even though I hadn't yet met you, today I can't remember my life without you.
It's been a year of growth for all of us. And if I had to pick an age that has been my favorite so far, two would be it. As challenging as some days have been, it has been a year of adventure, of learning, and of loving. The terrible twos, when you think about it, aren't really that terrible after all. Sure, tantrums abound and limits are tested and patience runs thin. But man, is it fun watching you grow and learn.
You fight us hard. We've battled over everything from school uniforms to what color crayon you want to use. We've had to discipline you and reprimand you, and sometimes I've even had to reprimand myself - to remember that you are still little. And that you won't be this way forever. That eventually, the tantrums will go away and they will be replaced by different problems, bigger ones.
But even though you fight us hard, you love us hard, too. You run to Daddy when he gets home from work, and you kiss me every single night and say, "Good night Mommy, I love you." You love to cuddle with us on the sofa, and your hugs can make all our biggest worries disappear. Your emotions run deep, and our love for you grows deeper by the day.
You have grown to be independent. While it was always important to me that you were independent, it's a little heartbreaking to realize you don't need me for everything anymore. Declarations of "I can do it," and "No, Mommy, let me!" sometimes make me wish you needed me more. But you want to feed yourself, and bathe yourself, and go to the potty by yourself. Sometimes, though, you still ask us to hold your hand so you can go into the dark bedroom and get the toy you want from there. And in those moments, I realize that you're still my baby. I know as time goes on you will only become more independent, but I hope to have little flashes of you needing me for a long time.
Watching you explore might be my favorite thing to do. You take in everything around you and you notice the most minuscule little things. You love to check out the world around you and you analyze how things work with a curiosity that I never knew existed. You watch us complete a task once, and you can carry it out yourself right after. You've even learned to ask Google to play your favorite song. I can't wait to see where that mind of yours continues to take you.
You started school this year, and you have made friends, and you have learned. I always knew that having you start school would broaden your world, but I never imagined just how much. You talk like a little parrot now. I can't believe that I was worried about your speech development at 18 months, and now you never stop talking! Your social skills rival that of many adults I know, and you insist Daddy and I "look at you" whenever you are trying to talk to us. I always knew you were friendly, but hearing you talk about your friends, and tell me you want to invite them over has been music to my ears.
You are active. You don't stop unless you are asleep. You're always in motion, and while it can be exhausting, it's also kept me in the best physical shape of my life, even through my eighth month of pregnancy with your little sister! You're running, and jumping, and being a loud little boy for most of your waking hours. And I wouldn't change a thing.
Tonight, on the cusp of your third birthday, we want to tell you how honored we are to be your Mom & Dad. To let you know how lucky we are to be the ones to watch you grow, hold your hand, and share your joys and your trials. You might be growing up, but you will always be our baby.
Happy Third Birthday, Caleb!
Mom & Dad
Happy New Year! I'm so excited for what is to come in 2018, including the arrival of our baby girl! A couple of months ago, Justine over at Little Dove reached out and said she wanted to do a giveaway at the beginning of the year for expectant mamas. Her idea was for each of us to contribute something that we absolutely could not live without when it came to our babies, and then one lucky mama would win all of our favorite things. I decided to go with the fridababy Bitty Bundle of Joy Mom & Baby Healthcare and Grooming Gift Kit. I actually had this kit on my registry, and received it at my baby shower, along with duplicates of some of the items to keep in my diaper bag.
If you are pregnant or have had a baby recently, you probably grimaced when someone first told you about the NoseFrida. I know I did. When I was pregnant with Caleb and we were working on our registry, I shied away from this product when I realized how it worked. Suck snot out of someone's nose? No way.
One day, Eddie and I were in a baby store, and he pointed out the NoseFrida and asked me what it was. When I explained it to him, he was a little put off at first, but then he said, "That actually makes a ton of sense. We should definitely have one of these." Fast forward to Caleb's first cold, and boy was I glad I had this baby on hand. I actually ended up with a second one that I kept in our travel bag.
Something similar happened with the Windi. Someone gifted it to me and I was like, oh heck no. That is NOT happening. Well, lo and behold, one day Caleb was crazy gassy and fussy and hadn't pooped. I pulled these babies out and NEVER LOOKED BACK.
The NailFrida is awesome because it has a little window so you can see exactly where you are cutting. We actually nicked Caleb the very first time we cut his nails so this will make me feel much better the first time we cut baby girl's nails.
And the final item in the box is the Fridet, or momwasher. Raise your hand if you took home like four of those plastic squeeze bottles from the hospital, because I certainly did. This is a little like those, except the nozzle is formed in such a way that you don't have to contort yourself (a hassle in and of itself after giving birth) to tackle your perineal care.
So these products aren't glam. But I promise you will get so much use out of them. So SO SO much use. But with our giveaway, you too can have these products! If you're a resident of the US or Canada, follow the link below and make sure you complete all the steps to enter before the contest ends at midnight on January 13!
Also, make sure you check out the other ladies' posts so you can read about why they included their items!
Justine at Little Dove
Shani at Sunshine & Munchkins
Mary Leigh at Live Well Play Together
Marette at Floradise
2017 was a year that spanned a lot of emotions and a lot of growth in many areas. We are still on the road on vacation, but since you all have been so amazing to me, I didn’t want to leave you hanging at the very end of the year!
We had a lot of changes at home, with Eddie switching gears and branching out on his own. It was a shaky transition, but once all was said and done, it was a welcome one that let him be home and spend a lot more time with us as a family. Just as all of that was wrapping up, we found out I was pregnant, a surprise, but a very much welcomed one!
Caleb started school, we had a major hurricane event come our way. We went to Disney more times than I can remember, we discovered that beach vacations are really awesome when you have an active toddler, we took an incredible kid free trip to Napa (and yes I enjoyed it even while pregnant), and took a spontaneous road trip through the South.
I learned a lot about myself and about who I am. As a mother, as a wife, as a friends, as a daughter, and as a woman. This blog has given me a means of expression and a way to document all these realizations.
And through it all, you’ve been there! Reading my musings and supporting me in this tiny little corner of the interwebs that I get to call my own. And I am SO grateful. For every comment, like, share, and message. For every encouraging word and for everything I’m lucky enough to have you share with me. I couldn’t keep this going without your support, and I’m excited for all 2018 will bring to this space! I can’t wait to keep sharing and growing together.
And with that, here’s my December List!
And with that, I leave you for 2017. May your 2018 be filled with beautiful memories, health, happiness, and peace. Thank you for sharing your lives with me and for allowing me to share mine with you!
Happy New Year!
I've shown you all a few maternity looks already, but I want to share some of the basics about dressing your bump. You don't have to spend a fortune to look cute while you're growing a human, and I have a few tips to help you do just that!
But first, I want to share this look that I'll be rocking this week, since Miami's temperatures have taken a little dip in the last few days. The items are all linked at the end of the post.
The most basic of all my maternity wardrobe needs is the base of this outfit, and can be the base for MANY MANY MANY outfits. These black leggings are nice enough to dress up with boots and a cute top, and comfy enough to wear with sneakers and a tee. Here, I went for a casual look, pairing it with a basic white v-neck tee from Old Navy, and a quilted vest from Old Navy as well. For a warm, festive touch, I added this plaid blanket scarf, which is so versatile. It can be used as a scarf but you can also throw it over yourself and use it as a blanket while on a plane or in a car. It's one of those great wardrobe pieces that you can use a number of ways. I went with beige riding boots to give some contrast to the look.
And now, my tips for dressing your bump.
What tips would you add?
Stay fab, friends!
Shop the Look
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This trimester has felt like a whirlwind. I can barely believe that I am almost in week 28 of this pregnancy and starting my third trimester. I have had tons of energy and have been able to accomplish a lot. I've also been working, a LOT, as this is my busy season as a photographer.
My belly really started to grow over the last few weeks, and it's just now starting to get in the way of doing everyday things like tying my shoes and shaving. Baby girl is about the size of a papaya, which is pretty big, and she's making her presence known, most notably when I go to bed at night, of course! My worst/most annoying pregnancy symptoms have been pregnancy rhinitis (basically a terrible post-nasal drip exacerbated by the extra estrogen my body is making), and "leakage," which just means I pee myself every time I sneeze or cough if I can't manage to cross my legs in time (I'm just being honest here). Aside from that, everything is shaping up well, she has a strong heartbeat, and she's been kind to me in terms of weight gain and swelling.
In other news, we are supposed to be getting a cold front in Miami over the weekend. While we were in New York, we had Lauren Listor of Laurel Creative take our family photos, and I also had her take some outfit shots for me. We shot this look, and I think it's a perfect one for the cooler weather we should be getting in Miami this weekend. The top and shoes are both Target (everything is linked below), and the jeans are my favorite maternity jeans, which can probably walk off by themselves at this point because I've worn them so much.
The cold shoulder top is a nice change from your typical sweater, and it can be dressed up or down - I could have just as easily paired this with yoga pants and sneakers, or I can even dress it up a little more with a sparkly necklace. It's comfy and roomy and has plenty of space for my belly to keep growing! These ankle boots have a tiny 1.5-inch heel and were so comfortable for walking around the city, so I can definitely imagine myself wearing them around town to run errands.
Stay gorgeous, friends!
Shop My Look
*These are affiliate links. By clicking on these links, you are helping support the blog!
In November, we took an extra long weekend trip to New York, and even though we have been there a few times already with Caleb, this was the first time that he was really aware of what was going on and the fact that we were in a new city. We planned a lot of activities based off of things we thought he would like, and decided to visit some major landmarks, even though we had already done a lot of them, because we knew he would enjoy them.
We spent a few weeks leading up to the trip talking about how we were going to go visit New York City, and talking about some of the sights we were going to be seeing. We watched a few movies that took place in New York and made sure to point out the landmarks, and he was more than excited once the day of the trip finally rolled around.
We flew out of Miami into LaGuardia, and because Caleb is over the age of two, he needs his own seat now. Let me tell you, purchasing a seat might be more expensive, but oh my goodness was it so much more comfortable! While Caleb does watch TV at home, I don't usually let him handle devices unless it's a real necessity, but trips are a different story. I made sure to download a few of his favorite movies onto an iPad and we got him headphones. We also brought along a few snacks and some of his favorite toys. Since the flight wasn't a long one I wasn't really concerned with much else.
Once we arrived, we picked up our bags and took a car into the city.
The Statue of Liberty
One of the landmarks we talked about a LOT was the Statue of Liberty. We figured she is so iconic that he would always recognize her. I booked the tickets online ahead of time with the service that the National Park Service recommends, so we wouldn't have to wait in line. We went on a Thursday at noon and the lines weren't bad at all anyway.
Caleb absolutely LOVED the ferry ride there. He kept looking around, and looking at the water. Once we got to Liberty Island, we walked all the way around, stopped in front of the Statue of Liberty, and then kept strolling. His attention wouldn't have held for much longer than that.
Make a stop at DO, Cookie Dough Confections if you've ever enjoyed a piece of raw cookie dough in your life (and who hasn't?). Don't go overboard, it's super rich. But Caleb loved this stop for sure.
Okay, so we typically avoid Times Square, unless we are going to see a show or something. But we knew that it would have a major draw for Caleb, and boy, were we right! He loved looking at all the lights and buildings. He even took a picture with Spider-Man (albeit a little wonky-looking Spider Man), and he is still talking about Times Square a few weeks after the trip. We popped into the Renaissance Hotel, which has some amazing views from the lobby, and then we walked around a bit. We also strolled through the Disney Store, because why not?
We walked over a couple blocks to Bryant Park, too and he really enjoyed watching the ice skaters. If you're there during the holidays, they have the cutest holiday village set up so you can go shopping for Christmas gifts from local artisans.
Books of Wonder
After reading about the most whimsical children's book store, Books of Wonder, I knew we had to make this a stop. We all enjoyed perusing the vast number of children's titles, and they have an adorable little area where you can read books with your kids. It's definitely worth a stop if you're in the area.
Central Park & Tavern on the Green
There is just so much to see in Central Park. From the views of the city, to the ponds, to people watching. We were there so I could take maternity photos of my brother-in-law and his wife, but Caleb liked being pushed around through the little pathways and looking at all the big trees around him.
We made a reservation for brunch at Tavern on the Green, which is right on the edge of the park. The food was delicious, and they had a great selection for children, as well.
New York City Subway
Go for just one subway ride. The sights, the smells, the sounds - kids will be enthralled. We headed to Brooklyn on our last day there, and we decided to take the subway. Caleb liked going on the "fast train" and asked all kinds of questions about it.
We got off the subway and stepped right into DUMBO (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). It's a really beautiful area filled with families and beautiful views of Manhattan. We walked over to the Brooklyn Bridge Park and took a ride on Jane's Carousel. It was built in 1922 for a park in Youngstown, Ohio, and was moved to Brooklyn in 1984 for restoration. It was opened to the public in 2011. It is enclosed in a glass "jewel box," and you get the most gorgeous views of the city while you are on it.
Either we talked about the bridge a lot, or Caleb latched onto it when we did talk about it, because the entire trip, he talked about how he wanted to see the Brooklyn Bridge. So when we finally made it there, he was so excited to see it. We walked across it (it was a Sunday afternoon when the weather was glorious and it was packed), and now he knows he was on the Brooklyn Bridge.
There were a few other places we stopped in at, mostly food places, that I wouldn't necessarily say are great for kids, but that we really enjoyed. Here's the short list.
This post contains affiliate links - this means if you shop on my links and in some cases, click on them, I earn a little something towards helping me keep the blog going!
I feel like I just did my October list! I had a lot more posts planned than what I was able to get up for you all, but vacation and Thanksgiving and being sick got the better of me, and here we are, already hitting on December! Without further ado, the November List...
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.